Looking back over 30+ years, I loved working in an environment where I had freedom, the ability to work hard, and feel a sense of trust and confidence with my co-workers. Those times were extremely fulfilling.
As a serial entrepreneur over two continents I was lucky. Why lucky?
I was lucky that I got (with partners) the opportunity to create amazing environments where the team had (and still has) the freedom and ability to work hard.
One of the best leadership lessons I was fortunate enough to learn is that the best way to lead your people is to ask how can I help you fix this? How can I help you through this challenge?
Empowering the team to find solutions to challenges with your support. How many times have leaders reacted by saying “ I will do that” . That is not leadership. That is control.
Leadership is about using every opportunity to help the team grow.
Over the last few years I have used a number of profiling tools such as DISC for my clients. The profiles that I particularly like and use reflect two profiles for each person taking the assessment.
These are behavioural profiles and not necessarily personality profiles.
The difference between the two profiles is that one is called the natural style and one the adapted style. The adapted style looks at a person’s behaviour in the work environment. What are their behavioural characteristics that they display (and equally supress) at work.
The natural style reflects a personal behaviour when outside the work environment or (more importantly) when under stress.
When looking at team members, the differences between the styles indicates which traits are being suppressed at work normally and which will come out under stressful work situations. We always expect some difference between these natural and adapted styles.
Earlier I said that leadership is about using every opportunity to help the team grow. The leader who reverts to a controlling style under stress and disempowers team members is surely doing harm to themselves and the team members.
If I look at myself as an example. I was self-driven, inspired, and not afraid to take risks. I am still self-driven, inspired and not afraid to take risks. When writing my book, the original working title was “give up control to gain control” (which is now a chapter). That Chapter explores my journey to understanding how to empower team members and “give up control”. I was not always like that, but maturing and developing some emotional intelligence has helped me over the years to move from “don’t worry I will do it” to “How can I help you solve this problem.
What are you doing to be a true leader to empower your team ?